NEWSLETTERS OF THE TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA FOR 1972
The following is a summary of the news, events and happenings of the Tree Society of Rhodesia from the records we have available for 1972
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter January 1972
Sunday 23rd January, 0930 The meeting place for the morning, or all day, if preferred, meeting to Spelonken will be at the Christon Bank end of the property.
It is intended to follow the footpath through the Botanic Garden extension onto Mr. Burrows’ property. On the granite kopjes will be the vegetation normally associated with these, but on the anthills we will pass on our way to the valley, will be seen Markhamia acuminata and Strychnos potatorum.
Among the trees in the flat woodland between the hills and the Mazoe river are all three species of Protea common in Mashonaland, P. angolensis, P. gaguedi and P. welwitschii.
The riverine growth will, I think, be the most interesting and I suggest that those of us making a day of the outing should take our lunch down there. Trees and shrubs to be seen are : Celtis africana; Olea africana; Myrica serrata; Rhus lancea; Mimusops zeyheri; Ilex mitis; Englerophytum magalismontanum; Acokanthera oppositifolia; Cassine aethiopica; Vepris sp.
THE MAKABUSI WOODLAND AND SALISBURY
A sub-committee consisting of Mr. Aylen, Mrs. Maasddorp and Mr. Pearce has prepared a circular for sending to kindred societies to seek more support for the campaign to have the Makabusi woodland declared a Nature Reserve.
A summary of the points being made to state our case is as follows:
Existing parks and playing fields and available land in Greater Salisbury fall very far short of the recommended standard
- The population will increase
- Nearby National Parks are becoming over loaded
- Schools at all levels need access to different categories of land for the new “in the field” studies and present available areas will be over-loaded
- The public needs facilities for relaxation and strolls, outdoor hobbies etc., such as exist in Europe and America
- Natural Science Museums, children’s farms, zoos, snakes and mammal ‘whipsnade’ etc. would relieve this overload.
- There is no guarantee that some private sports clubs will not be lost, nor that riverine land will become industrial sites
- Salisbury is becoming ringed and land for sports fields and parks will be almost impossible to find in the future
- Traffic congestion, noise, lack of charm and local colour etc., unnecessarily increase stress. Additional measures should be undertaken to enable citizens to relax.
- Either the Woodland will remain a relic of the veld of interest to future generations or if population around it becomes very large it would be a gift site for a Central Park of less size, than in many cities.
We consider – The whole area is needed at present
It would be wise to reserve it for future needs.
BULAWAYO BRANCH AGM
Members of the Society resident in the Bulawayo area are reminded of the Branch Annual General Meeting which is being held at the home of Mrs. E. Bullock, on the afternoon of Sunday, 15th January at 1530 hours.
A volunteer has come forward to fill the post of Honorary Treasurer, but so far no one has agreed to being put up as President or Secretary, both of which positions will require filling at the Annual General Meeting. Nominations, which must indicate the member’s willingness to stand, are urgently required for these vacancies.
THE RHODESIA SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION announces a public lecture entitled “The Vegetation as an aid to Prospecting” will be given by Mr. P. I. Thomas, Messina Research Fellow in the Department of Botany, University of Rhodesia, at 2000 hours on Thursday, 10th February 1972, in the Queen Victoria Museum Auditorium. Members of the Public are cordially invited to attend.
Douglas Irvine President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter March 1972
MINUTES OF AGM AND CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
The chair was taken by Mr. Douglas Irvine, President, who declared the meeting open, and welcomed the 50 members present.
Adoption of the Minutes of the last AGM. These having been circulated were adopted and signed by the President.
Matters arising from the President’s Report: In reply to the President’s request for members views on Society outings Mr. Talbot informed the meeting that the Bulawayo Tree Society was planning a trip to Belingwe over the Whitsun weekend and suggested the Salisbury Tree Society members might join them. Mr. Gordon said he would shortly be giving a slide show to the Bulawayo Tree Society and would make enquiries concerning the Belingwe outing. He added, that since many of our outings were in Brachystegia Woodland areas he felt that at least once a year we should try and get into forest areas. Mr. Aylen suggested an outing to the Ruenya River, North of Inyanga North over the Rhodes and Founders weekend. This would mean camping out as no accommodation is available. On a show of hands a majority of the members showed interest in a visit to Ruenya River and the future committee was asked to look into the matter.
Treasurer’s Report: This having been circulated was adopted and Mrs. Tunney thanked Mr. Hill for his assistance. Mr. Carey asked about the money spent on the Arboretum Development and was informed by the President that the Society would be reimbursed in the event of the Arboretum being taken over by the Department of Parks.
Election of Officers:
President Mr. Pearce
Vice President Mr. Ascough
Secretary Mrs. Duncanson
Treasurer Mrs. Murray
Committee Dr. Murray, Mr. Irvine, Mrs. Trice, Mr. Talbot and Mrs. Irvine
Other Business: The President announced that the Rhodesia Scientific Association would be showing a film on behavioral aspects of the Kangaroo, the Koala and Phalanger presented by Dr. R. Tucker of the University of Queensland on the 9th March at 2000 hours in the queen Victoria Museum auditorium to which members were cordially invited.
Makabusi Woodland Nature Reserve: Mrs. McBean expressed her disapproval that the Society had not been informed of the meeting on the Makabusi Woodland Scheme, or been invited to attend. Mr. Aylen stated that he had received a personal invitation to the meeting, but received it too late to attend, and agreed that the Society should have been invited.
Mr. James, who had attended, gave a brief report on the meeting. He pointed out that although on a map there appears to be plenty of open space in and around the City, much of this is, in fact, “useless land”. Mr. Gordon suggested a list be drawn up of all flora and fauna in the Makabusi Woodland and the Council approached from this angle.
Mr. James said NOW is the time to lodge objections and the Society must lodge its protest immediately. He pointed out that it is the Woodland area only and not the whole scheme to which we were objecting. Mr. Aylen stated he had sent in a protest letter in his capacity as Chairman of a sub-committee representing both the Tree Society and the Natural Resources Society. A proposal by Mr. Steer, seconded by Mrs. McBean, that this meeting resolves that the strongest objections by made to any encroachment of the Nature Reserve Area bounded by the Railway line, Chiraura River, Makabusi River and the ITC Complex for the reasons already set out in the objections dated 22nd January under Mr. Aylen’s signature, and the circular from the Natural Resources Society which was enclosed with the February newsletter. The resolution was adopted unanimously and signatures of all present were obtained by Mrs. Irvine.
Buses: Mr. Pearce suggested using buses instead of private cars for outings. Mr. James stated that Luxury Busses could be hired at very reasonable rates, and that smaller Safari-type busses might also be tried. It was suggested that a bus be tried for one outing.
There being no further business the meeting was closed
Tea interval and delicious Marula-nut biscuits, supplied by Mrs. McBean, was followed by a slide show presented by Mr. Trevor Gordon of some of his more recent colour slides taken in various parts of Rhodesia and Mozambique.
Mr. Pearce thanked Mr. Gordon for his very interesting slide show and the meeting closed at 22.20 hours.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 1971
I feel that it can be justly claimed that the Society has had a very successful year, in all regards. Membership continued to increase and this now stands at 274, which is I am sure an all time high. In addition, as the Treasurer’s report will show you, the Society is in a sound financial position.
During the last year we had nine outings. Of these, the first two were to easily accessible areas, Balancing Rocks and the National Botanic Gardens. For the next four visits we ventured further afield, Audley End Farm near Darwendale, Chipoli beyond Shamva, Wedza Mountain and Templeton Ranch in the Northern Dyke area. While I appreciate that this must of necessity place a strain on many members, I feel it is essential that we undertake some outings away from the typical Highveld flora. However, I would be grateful to receive any comments which members may care to make on the travelling which is involved in such excursions.
The last three visits to the Surtic area of Mazoe Citrus Estates, Binga Forest and Spelonken were again all reasonably adjacent to Salisbury.
In addition to these outings, in October we received a talk by Mr. Stephen Marvi of the Herbarium staff on “Shona plant names and uses” and a most instructive evening it turned out to be. I would like to remind those of our members who are on the staff of the Herbarium that after the lecture I asked Mr. Marvi to consider writing an article on his subject for submission to Rhodesia Science News and would request their assistance in getting this done.
Our main activity at the Arboretum was the transplanting of between twelve and fifteen hundred specimens of Aloe chabaudii there, the aloes having been recovered from an area above Prince Edward Dam which is shortly to be inundated. Again, I must give our heartfelt thanks to our good friend Col. Kemp for all the hard work and help he gives us there. Without him, the Arboretum would indeed be in sad straits.
We had another outing to Binga Swamp Forest to continue in our work of eradicating the invading exotics and hopefully have asked for help from Arcturus Rural Council in this task of very considerable magnitude.
Your Hon. Life Vice President, Mr. Aylen, has, as you know, continued his endeavours in regard to the Makabusi Woodlands and, one way or another, this should come to a head in the near future. We consider our cause a reasonable one and continue to hope fore success.
The report on the AGM of our Bulawayo Branch which was held last month is not yet to hand and I would suggest to the incoming committee that this be included in a future newsletter.
In conclusion, at this, the end of my term of office, may I thank you all, and particularly the members of my committee, for your support during the year. I would also like, on your behalf, to give our thanks to the land owners who so kindly opened their properties to us for our visits.
Douglas Irvine, President
March 19th Visit to M’Sinje by kind permission of Mr. Charles Newmarsh Our destination is a pork-pie kopje which can be seen straight ahead when entering the Msinje Road. The kopje is an outlier on the east end of the granite range which forms the southern boundary of the Chinamora reserve. Most trees common to granite soils and kopjes were noted at a fleeting preliminary visit, and it is possible some less common ones will be found higher on the kopje.
The main activity we will see when travelling through the farm are highly productive irrigated pastures fenced into quite small paddocks for high density short period grazing, recently planted citrus groves and in-bred seed maize, male flowers, ie tassels have been removed.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter June 1972
Many of our regulars must regret that they did not come to Bernard Mizeki shrine as it was one of, if not the most interesting outings in many years. Perhaps we are to blame for not obtaining, and giving, fuller information.
At one time the ground around the shrine was tramped bare and eroding, later drought and a subsequent fire about 7 years ago severely damaged the “grove” concealed behind the shrine, even consuming the leaf mould. It appeared then that a closed canopy forest with dense understories of shrubs and short plants similar to the few remaining bits of riverine forest around Inyangani would be lost.
However, thanks to the interest of the Anglican Church and the personal efforts of Canon Grinham and Dr. Penny Grant the deterioration was halted. The forest is situated in a shallow valley on the side of a granite hill down which flowed on or near the surface a small stream. When the stream dried up shallow wells were dug progressively higher up the slope, tapping and largely wasting seepage. The dominant trees, Syzygium cordatum suffered severely and due also to depredation for fibre, Ensete edule disappeared. Trees such as Ilex, Apodytes and Celtis survived. Trees not usually found within a forest were Cussonia natalensis and an unusually tall Faurea saligna. At the foot of the valley a thicket of Dombeya brycei was covered in pink flowers.
Dr. Grant, to whom we are most grateful for leading the party, described the measures which had been undertaken, and which it is proposed to undertake, including closure to the public, which we endorse, and sealing of all but the lowest well.
After lunch the party visited the Lekkerwater Ruins, Zimbabwe type structures on the broad flat top of a solid granite hill. The tremendous view from here alone is well worth the half mile scramble. The surrounding kopjes have several granite piles of unusual and beautiful shapes and were dotted with splashes of red or autumn, e.g. the flame bush. At the commencement of the path are some “Henry Moores”, weathered from various very coarse grained granite rocks and amongst them the stump of what must have been a truly huge Cussonia natalensis. Are such cabbage trees now rare in our area because of the ease with which the soft wood can be carved into bowls, spoons and ladles?
It was then a dash to the nearby homestead of Mr. and Mrs. N. Grant, our hosts for a sumptuous tea, after which we strolled around their most beautiful garden for an all too short time as it puts to shame the smaller parks in nearly any town. So ended a day of four separate activities, each of which would have more than justified an expedition.
Lifts: The Committee wish to establish a convention that members giving/receiving lifts to outings shall expect to receive/pay therefore at the rate of 1c per mile. Mrs. Irvine offers to continue to put members in touch for this purpose.
Outward Bound: The annual Natural History Course will be held from 30th September to 11th October.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter July 1972
Sunday 18th June, Outing to Crowder’s Boulders and Somerby Cave: This enjoyable and instructive outing took place in perfect weather. Over fifty trees were named for the owner of the property, Mr. Crowder by Trevor Gordon, who, with his customary enthusiasm and patience, discussed details of each species, particularly those which help in identification. Especially interesting, I felt, was seeing Acacia sieberiana and Acacia polyacantha growing side by side, and being able to compare them directly; differentiating between them is certainly easier under such ideal conditions!
Saturday/Sunday July 15th/15th Ngezi Dam: We have booked all available accommodation and have three beds still available. We are authoritatively recommended to use the Featherstone route.
Sunday August 20th, Ditchwe Lemon Forest: We have hired a 30 seater luxury bus, and it is hoped that members will give their full support and take every seat. Seats must be booked and paid for in advance, $3.25.
GENERAL: The Society has been asked to give its views on the reservation of open space in the long term development of Greater Salisbury and its surroundings.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter August 1972
VISIT TO NGEZI NATIONAL PARK (Note by Douglas Aylen)
Ngezi Park has many attractions for the naturalist, much is still wilderness, or almost so. Two thirds of the Park consists of flat granite soils with long, wide intrusions of dolerite and quartz, one large but low granite ‘whale-back’, several castle kopjes and in a few patches adulteration by remnants of ‘karroo’ sand.
The other third is a portion of the Great Dyke, capped with norite and with outcrops of pyroxerite in a somewhat soft serpentine. Though a number of rare or uncommon trees were found the total count was less than might be expected, about 65 in the latter area and 55 in the former. Also rather puzzling was the contrast between unusually large specimens in open woodland (e.g. a Faurea saligna, 18 m with a bole with an average diameter of 0.55 m and a much larger twinned Monotes glaber, and several even larger Acacia goetzei and areas of short dense Brachystegia. It was noted, though, that amongst boulders in these thickets Brachystegia spiciformis were well grown. It would thus appear that disturbance, not soil, was the cause of the thickets.
Rare trees found were Boscia albitrunca, Euclea linearis and the uncommon Catha edulis formed a thicket on the banks of the Ngezi River in the gorge.
Ngezi makes no claim to be a game park, but it carries a good variety and, in cases, a considerable number of buck. Crocs, hippo, jackals and a civet cat were seen. The lake has a very irregular outline and the bays and estuaries have much shallow water ideal for water fowl and waders, of which a fair variety was present.
For me the outstanding experience was to be wakened at 0430 by the light of Venus. Then to see her reflection as a silver thread across the lake and to watch a dawn of silver, gold and pink reflected amongst like coloured patches of mist in ‘aniline’ blue water, and then a mirage of the distant hills. The circumstances which made all this possible may never happen again!
The time was all too short for even those eight members who stayed several nights. Another eight spent one more night. One can be certain that all wish to go again.
The luxury lakeside cottages set in natural rock gardens provide accommodation for 18 and perhaps at some future date we may be able to add a few caravans and so make up a larger party for a longer stay.
A fairly thorough list was made of the trees in the gorge on the Sunday morning, and will be submitted to National Parks, as well as a short list of the granite area trees. It is hoped these will be made available to visitors as well as, in due course, a description of the other features of the Park.
Sunday August 20th Ditchwe Lemon Forest: The lemon forest is named to because of the numerous lemon trees growing there. The forest is comprised of Highveld Savanna, Lowveld Savanna, Medium Altitude high rainfall species and some riverine species. The most interesting trees that occur are the Albizia zimmermannii as this is the furthest south that they are found. Adansonia digitata, Gyrocarpus americana, Rauvolfia caffra, Khaya nyasica and Acacia galpinii are a few of the other species that can be seen.
Seats of luxury bus are still available and must be booked in advance, fare $3.50.
Lifts: A Bulawayo member has rightly raised the point that the payment of 1c per mile might be held to constitute ‘hire and reward’ as envisaged for car insurance purposes and possibly defeat claims arising there under. Enquiry from two different Insurance Companies specializing in car cover gives conflicting information. Members giving lifts and receiving payment are therefore advised to inform their Insurance Companies in advance of the arrangement and ask for an acknowledgement of their acceptance thereof. We understand that this will be readily given.
Newsletter: It will be noticed that we have arranged that this is now “Registered at the GPO as a Newspaper” at a saving to the Society of about one half of our postage hill.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter September 1972
VISIT TO DITCHWE LEMON FOREST
After debussing at the edge of the forest and a short break for tea, Mr. Trevor Gordon led the party into the forest, on a walk which took us round a small kopje and back to the starting point.
The forest comprises only a very small area and is situated in a dolomite formation outcropping in a line of kopjes at a point where the water table rises to the surface. This combination of soil and water has given rise to a type of forest quite foreign to the Mashonaland Highveld.
The area is highly infested by those wickedly thorny climbers Acacia schweinfurthii and Pterolobium exosome. Mr. Gordon explained that, had it not been that the owner of the land had introduced cattle to the area, which had broken paths through the railing thorn thickets, the forest would have been quite impenetrable. Even so, care had to be taken during our walk to avoid the thorny, straggling branches.
The emergents of the forest, their heads rising clear above the rest, and from 70 to 100 feet high are Acacia galpinii, Khaya nyasica, same as the big tree of Mt. Selinda, a small grove of Ekebergia capensis, with russet tinged leaves, and many tall, slender Celtis africana.
The middle storey, very much lower at 12 to 30 feet, is represented by the shiny wavy leaved Euclea schimperi, small trees with masses of tiny fruits. There are also Rauvolfia caffra, with bright green slender leaves and tiny white flowers, a few Strychnos potatorum, Diospyros sinensis with close clinging, cuplike calyces and, last but not least, the heavy dark green leaved Trichilia emetica, a low branching mahogany.
Amongst the 30 or 40 other species seen there is only space to mention Croton megalobotrys, Albizia zimmermannii and Markhamia acuminata, in full and sweetly scented flower, which are not found in the Salisbury area.
Conspicuous in the understorey of the forest are masses of lemon trees, Mazoe rough skin, many still laden with excellent fruit, which give the name to the ‘Lemon Forest’. These have no doubt been introduced to this and other areas by human agency in the distant past and have now become indigenous.
After lunch in the heart of the forest a further short walk to its western edge led us to an extensive area of swamp, given over entirely to rushes. Just off the swamp interest was aroused in a group of Ziziphus, which were thought to be abyssinica but might be the more common mucronata.
NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN
New members of our Society may not be aware of the Friends of National Botanic garden. The latter have formed themselves together to aid the full development of the Gardens. Membership thereof offers little in return at this stage, but the satisfaction of aiding the achievements of this great objective. Members can, however, obtain small quantities of seeds when available.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter October 1972
VISIT TO CHIZORORO – by kind invitation of Miss Barbara Tredgold.
Miss Tredgold and her companion, Miss Sybil Lister, give us a very warm welcome to their home. This meeting was distinctive in that it was a half day only and on a Saturday, and travelling was minimal and we were divided into three groups and identification of the trees was very much more a joint effort than was usually the case. This is as it should be, for we cannot, and should not, rely entirely on our few very knowledgeable members to lead the outings.
The trees at Chizororo are probably all contained on our Field Card, and provided an admirable opportunity of seeing those that most of us have least excuse not to know.
Notes by Mr.J. Reid: The majority of trees in the area were quite, or nearly quite, bare of leaves which made identification difficult. On the small granite kopje across the vlei from Miss Tredgold’s house there were some good specimens of the so-called Mountain Acacia, Brachystegia glaucescens, but what attracted most attention was a group of scrub Faurea saligna, the leaves of which were in various shades of ‘autumn’ red and particularly attractive. Later a few large specimens of this tree were seen close to the Hunyani River.
Notable on the kopje were a number of specimens of the ‘white mukwa’, Pterocarpus rotundifolius which, though quite bare at present, must be really spectacular when in flower. There is an exceptionally fine specimen close to Miss Tredgold’s house.
Combretum molle were fairly numerous, but the discovery of the fruits of Combretum zeyheri under one of these set off a search for their origin, which took some time to locate.
There was some argument as to whether certain bare and damaged trees were Burkea africana or Lannea discolor. Both species were present and after some study we were able to distinguish between them.
Both Euclea divinorum and the less common Euclea crispa were seen. There were specimens of Rhus longipes and also one which was thought might be Rhus quartiniana which is not shown on our Tree List as being found in the vicinity of Salisbury.
Miss Tredgold would much appreciate help in naming her trees. Existing name plates are largely damaged, and need replacing. Any offers?
ARBORETUM: We have promised to supply National Parks with large transplants of indigenous trees to complete the area between the Arboretum and the Game Park at McIlwaine. Much of this area can suffer from frost.
Trees and shrubs are needed for both sides of the road, near the water’s edge, near the Arboretum (slight frost) and for blanking. We need some thirty or forty members each to raise or look after about a dozen trees each. In order to avoid omissions of suitable trees or over-production of a species would volunteers please contact Mr. Aylen.
The various jobs are collection of seed (surplus will be given to Seed Exchange, Botanic Garden) and raising two year olds in large containers which can be done from the start or by obtaining seedlings, striking cuttings, lifting self sown seedlings from gardens etc. Next May or June we would like four-foot truncheons of, for example Ficus burkei, and Erythrina abyssinica.
Seeds: Acacias such as albida, karroo, polyacantha, seiberiana. Cassia singueana and Dichrostachys, Piliostigma, Rhamnus, Terminalia sericea, etc. Try striking now : Bequartriodendron, Celtis, Rauvolfia; Dodonaea, Rhus lancea, Wild Date, Wild Wisteria, etc.
NEWS FROM MATABELELAND
Those few local members who took advantage of Mr. Tom Muller’s visit had two most rewarding sessions with him. We were well supported by members of the Horticultural and Scientific Societies for the lecture at the Museum on ‘Planning Gardens”, having an audience of approximately 40. On the Saturday he had a day in the Matopos with a friend on the staff of the Research Station, and was very glad to fill this gap in his knowledge of this side of the country.
On the Sunday morning a few Tree Society members took him to see riverine vegetation in gullies on the escarpment 18 miles SE of Bulawayo where they were able to learn several species new to them.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter November 1972
Over the years our column in Rhodesia Science News has reported trends of thought which it was hoped would in time become public opinion. It would seem that the hopes were justified in many cases. The public is taking an informed interest in pollution, parks in all categories, ecology in schools etc., with the result that the protagonists have become more outspoken. Members can help by introducing these subjects as topics of conversation, particularly the Makabusi and degradation of the veld.
Offers to raise trees for the link-up between the Arboretum and the proposed picnic area at McIlwaine Park have been minimal. Let us hope there will be a good turnout of workers on the 19th at Binga so as demonstrate our interest and gratitude to the NRB. The provision of funds for fencing and conservation works depends on our putting up a good show. This is a work party, bring stout gloves, cutting tools and, if possible, labour.
VISIT TO ROCKWOOD GARDEN: This was a pleasant social get together for a somewhat smaller number than usual. Deep leaf mould and extra moisture between the huge boulders, or monoliths, had enabled subjects normally bushes to grow into large trees, e.g. Diospyros lycioides. Nothing uncommon was seen but we were able to compare several species of fig and the two local Erythrina, Erythrina abyssinica and Erythrina latissima, and a planted Erythrina lysistemon. It now seems that we have in the past mistaken a variation of E. abyssinica for E. latissima and the only sure identification is by a closer examination of flowers or fruit. We must admit to confusion on some Ekebergias. Leaves were only just emerging, and there have been changes in the specific names. The large tree in Rockwood, once E. arborea is now E. bengalensis and the original two species E. capensis and E. meyeri are now one, viz. E. capensis. The young twigs on E. bengalensis are brownish to purplish red helps identification.
BINGA SWAMP FOREST SUNDAY 19TH NOVEMBER, ALL DAY.
As one approaches the forest note first the regrowth woodland, and loss of topsoil, it was cut out by miners and then overgrazed by squatters, then a few Rauvolfias growing in a dry stream course on the left, proving it once was perennial. When Binga is first visible some old stone walls may be seen on a spur to the right. It is thought that this is the site of a chief’s grave. The open ground around was cultivated in the past and supports mainly an exotic weed grass of little value. The soil is hard and packed. The past felling, overgrazing and cultivation have reduced infiltration of rain water and caused gullies. Together these factors have reduced the water in the swamp. Binga means “swamp with ferns and large trees”.
Exotic trees have invaded the swamp forest and it is our object to pull seedlings, thorny, hence the gloves, and slash or saw the larger ones. It is up to us to prevent exotics destroying this locally unique forest. It is used for study by most, if not all, senior school ecology classes.
There will be a discussion and question session during lunch so please by matey and squat where you can hear and be heard. Bring cushions or light folding chairs and lots of tea or fruit juice.
PARKS AND PEOPLE: National Parks are to be designated according to the purpose they best serve, i.e. recreational, game viewing, wilderness, etc. This will help to spread visitors, some people would prefer to be sure of a close view of a lion on a private “Whipsnade” rather than a long dusty drive with only the chance of seeing a lion at Wankie. Others are quite satisfied to view numerous antelope no matter what the species. Some people are interested only in boats or fish, so for the benefit of the public people will be “herded”. This has two advantages, room for a larger total of visitors, but at the same time, greater freedom for those who know what they want to do or see.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter December 1972
THE MAKABUSI WOODLAND
The most important recent event was the hearing of objections to the development of this area as a housing estate. In spite of assumptions by a sister society, we can justifiably claim that we have done more work over a longer period to bring to the notice of all types of welfare, public spirited and scientific bodies the need to preserve this area as it is, then any other society, and certainly more research and study.
Our case was fully documented with tabulated articles in recent scientific papers and journals on planning and making public open spaces, and of course, the need for them. There was comparison between Salisbury and other cities of similar size and history. Papers on ecology and why it should be taught. In fact far in excess of what the Court required and which was made quite clear, in fact, almost a reprimand.
We succeeded in making the point that ours was not just an emotional appeal, it was not selfish and we knew what we were talking about. Though directed by the Court to restrict evidence to salient facts, not so far stated by others, some reference to the appendices had to be made. It was then that the Court realized their relevance and the extent of home work we had done. I think we achieved an understanding of the complexity of Nature and Human needs, and were thanked for it.
The Natural Resources Board has won its battle to prevent further desecration at the Falls by an hotel on the river bank. Perhaps our “Notes” in Science News helped as for some time we have attacked the commercialization of Nature and game viewing to the detriment of the environment and the animals. The victory at the Falls assists our case.
However, this battle will continue on different fronts for all time so we must not be complacent. Keep telling your friends the many reasons why we must preserve Beauty and Nature. A great many people consider the New Education – go and find out – based on the Environment to be a gimmick. If you have friends who believe this bring them to Outings. Tell the half convinced the anecdotes that in America in building by the “nouveau riche” of places where they spoil the scenery is called “Californication” and destruction of a haven of Nature, ecosystem, for monetary gain is called “Ecopornography”. These words have impact
BINGA OUTING: This was a very happy get together but the task of removing exotics is frightening. All those capable worked hard but the impression made was limited to a fraction of the area. Large specimens of Toons, Jacaranda, Persian Lilac and the ubiquitous Mauritius Thorn which covers many large trees and forms a wide dense thicket round much of the area are all producing seed in profusion. At a lunch time discussion we decided that it’s urgent that these huge weeds be poisoned before they produce more seed. We might then be able to control re-seeding.
The Chairman of the local ICA was present but we were unable to hold a joint discussion with a representative of the NRB as he lost his way there. Besides the exotics there is the other problem of restoring permanent swamp conditions to the area. I had some successful experience in restoring vleis and also studied similar successful projects in USA. and believe that there is a fairly simple and cheap remedy.
TREE TRANSPLANTS FOR MCILWAINE: We now have had a few offers. To remind you, we require somewhat frost resistant trees that can withstand wet feet or even water logging for short periods. If enough people offer to raise from seed a visit will be arranged to the “green house” at the Botanic Gardens.
A.F.W. PEARCE PRESIDENT
The President and Committee wish all members a happy Christmas and all good wishes for 1973.